bryant collins

What it’s like when your story goes viral

On Friday, a man named Bryant Collins saved the life of a 15-month-old baby girl, whom he spotted on the side of a highway.

On Monday, I interviewed Collins about his unexpected opportunity to become a hero.

Neither of us expected what happened next.

In a span of 25 hours, the story of Bryant Collins — and the baby he rescued — grew from my NBC affiliate in Atlanta to NBC Nightly News, going extraordinarily viral along the way. I have never seen anything like it, at least with one of my own stories.

And if I had to pick a story of mine to go viral, I might just choose this one.

We learned of it at around 10:30 Monday morning. Collins, we were told, had been driving his van down a small-town Georgia highway when he spotted a baby a few feet from the road. He slammed the brakes, got out, and confirmed it.

Then Collins called 911, and he stayed with the baby, Emily Pickens, until emergency crews arrived and took care of the situation.

An exciting pitch, for sure.

The only problem? Collins lived in Madison County, which is a nearly two-hour drive from Atlanta. (more…)